Lucas Peterson is a dedicated bargain hunter with a culinary bent and a healthy dose of wanderlust. The James Beard Award-winning journalist serves as the Frugal Traveler columnist for the New York Times and is the host of Eater's "Dining on a Dime" video series. He knows a good deal when he sees one, and he encountered quite a few on a recent trip to Berkeley.
His article covered the food scene, noting that you can find great value at Top Dog, Emilia's Pizzeria, Berkeley Bowl Marketplace, and even Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Café. But the author pushed past restaurant recommendations, providing readers with a good sense of the city and the riches it offers—riches available to just about anybody.
"Berkeley is pretty manageable on foot," according to the author, "and a good walk around will give you a sense of its geography, from the San Francisco Bay to the Berkeley Hills farther east. Explore beyond the main drags of Telegraph and Shattuck Avenues and discover the other fun pockets of activity throughout the city—along Fourth Street in Northwest Berkeley, for example, or at Ashby and College Avenues in the Elmwood District."
The article is full of useful tidbits like the one below, and is definitely worth a read.
"Every budget-savvy traveler knows there’s nothing better than free, as the parks are," Peterson wrote. "But Dollar Day Sundays at Golden Gate Fields, which straddles the border of Berkeley and Albany, comes very close. Almost everything costs a dollar: admission, programs, hot dogs—even parking and beer. It’s cheap beer, granted, and the hot dogs are not exactly Top Dog-quality, but it’s tough to complain when you’re paying for everything with pocket change."